From the CEO
The Kangaroo rouTe between Australia and England has been at the heart of Qantas’s identity since the service began in 1947.
A Lockheed Constellation made the trip with 11 crew and 29 passengers, who paid the equivalent of 130 weeks’ average salary. It also carried 2000 pounds (about 900 kilograms) of food parcels, a gift from Qantas employees to their British Overseas Airways Corporation colleagues in postwar Britain.
This was a very different era of travel. The 12,000-mile (roughly 19,000-kilometre) route was plotted by sextant. There were seven refuelling stops and the Charles Kingsford Smith arrived in London almost four days after leaving Sydney.
Since then, as aircraft have become larger and more efficient, air travel has become more accessible and our world smaller. An airfare to England now costs less than two weeks’ average wage. And from this month – a little over 70 years since the first service on the Kangaroo Route – we will make the long journey between Australia and Europe in one giant, nonstop bound. This is the first time the two continents will be directly linked by air.
It’s a historic moment for the Flying Kangaroo and one that was a dream of the Qantas founders from the time they began operations in outback Queensland in 1920. We knew that to make the dream a reality, we had to put our customers at the centre. Let’s face it, it’s a long way to travel.
We’ve partnered with Boeing to ensure our Dreamliners are a comfortable place to spend a long stretch of time. We’ve collaborated with sleep and nutrition experts from the Charles Perkins Centre at The University of Sydney to help reduce the impact of jet lag. And our team from Rockpool has created food and drink options – in our lounges and inflight – to support your wellbeing.
Our new lounges at Heathrow and Perth airports are another part of our more holistic approach to air travel, with the journey beginning before our customers even set foot on the aircraft.
And the lessons we have learnt and are still learning from the Perth-to-London flight are being applied to Project Sunrise, which sees us working with Boeing and Airbus to develop an aircraft that can fly direct from the east coast of Australia to London or New York. This is the final aviation frontier for Qantas.
Ultimately, it’s part of our mission to give our customers options. Some people like a stopover, some prefer to take advantage of the vast network of destinations that our partner airlines offer, while others simply want to get to where they’re going as quickly as possible.
Whatever your preference, Qantas is always here to help you explore the world and bring you back home again.
Alan Joyce CEO, Qantas